Painting Tips: Choosing the Right Paint
- Latex Paints
Latex paints are a class of paints usually made by mixing different pigments and binders in water. Clean up with warm soapy water, shorter drying time, and low odor are the most notable features of latex paints.
Latex paints are popular for a few good reasons:
- They quickly dry to the touch (half an hour in a typical interior application).
- Tools can be cleaned with soap and warm water.
- They retain their sheen/gloss longer.
- They retain their color longer.
- They are more flexible than oil based paint.
- Latex paints resist blistering and peeling because they do not trap moisture.
Latex paints use water to make the paint easier to spread. Microscopic pores allow water vapor to pass through the dried paint film. Because of this "breathing" ability, moisture is less likely to build up between the paint and the surface
- Oil/Alkyd Paints
Oil base paints were the first factory-made paints. Traditionally, resins derived from natural oils such as linseed oil were used, but modern oil resins called alkyds offer numerous advantages over natural resins. The main difference between an oil or alkyd and a latex paint is the vehicle or carrier of the resin. In a latex paint, water is the vehicle. In oil paint, a solvent, such as paint thinner or mineral spirits is used.
Today, 100% oil paints are seldom used. Alkyd paints consist of natural drying oils combined with alkyd resin, which is a harder substance. The development of the synthetic resins has made it possible to produce more consistent, higher quality alkyds. An alkyd, therefore, is a synthetic resin blended with oil. There are many types of alkyd resins, resulting in many types of alkyd paints.
Some advantages of oil/alkyd paints:
- Exceptionally durable and washable
- Adhere, flow, and level well – very good brushing qualities
- Perform well at lower temperatures
- Tolerate poor surface preparation; have more bite onto the surface
Oil/alkyds also have some drawbacks over latex paints. The solvent vehicles have more odor than latex, they yellow with age, and require solvent for clean up, rather than soap and water.